After seven seasons of playing the affable sweater wearing teacher Mr, Schue on the hit TV series Glee, Matthew Morrison knew it was time to get back to his roots. The veteran Broadway performer leaped at the chance to play J.M. Barrie in the Tony nominated Musical, Finding Neverland based on the movie of the same name which starred Johnny Depp.
Finding Neverland tells the story of Scottish playwright Barrie's close friendship with the London family that inspired him to write the beloved children's classic Peter Pan, about the boy who never grew up.
The show is non-stop and energetic from the get go and Morrison gets quite a work out seeing that he is hardly ever off stage and sings fourteen of the songs. He says that he never needs to go to the gym because performing eight shows a week keeps him in great shape.
The show is directed by Tony winner Diane Paulus, known for her hit revivals of Hair, Porgy and Bess and Pippin. Paulus also staged the musical at A.R.T., where she is artistic director. The new book is by James Graham and the score by Gary Barlow, former lead singer of Take That, and English songwriter Eliot Kennedy. Mia Michaels (So You Think You Can Dance) serves as choreographer. It is produced by Harvey Weinstein, who also produced the movie. While Weinstein has been an investor in numerous Broadway productions since 2000, this will be his first venture as lead producer on a show.
Morrison was nominated for an Emmy in 2010 for his long-running role as Will Schuester on Glee. He made his Broadway debut in 1999 in the musical Footloose, going on to appear in The Rocky Horror Show, Hairspray, A Naked Girl on the Appian Way and South Pacific. He received a Tony nomination for best featured actor in a musical in 2005 for The Light in the Piazza.
I spoke with Matthew Morrison via satellite from New York about what it means to be back on the Broadway stage, working opposite Kelsey Grammar (who plays Captain Hook) and his experience working on Glee.